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New York show: Mercedes-AMG debuts sharper GLC63

Mercedes-AMG’s facelifted GLC63 S comes out as the SUV king of the ‘Green Hell’

17 Apr 2019

THE fastest production SUV around Germany’s Nurburgring, Mercedes-AMG’s facelifted GLC63 S, has made its public debut at the New York motor show this week ahead of its Australian showroom introduction in wagon and coupe body styles in October.


Sporting new front and rear styling and gaining the latest connectivity and improved dynamics, the refreshed AMG-worked GLC will again only be available locally in the top-shelf ‘S’ configuration with its 375kW/700Nm biturbo 4.0-litre V8 that can push the beast from zero to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 280km/h.


In testing last year in the hands of AMG development engineer Markus Hofbauer, the latest GLC63 S clocked 7:49.369 minutes around the Nurburgring, clipping two seconds off the SUV record held by Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio.


Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers said the lap record proved the GLC63 S was right at the top of its segment in vehicle dynamics.


“With AMG Dynamics we were able to hone the vehicle dynamics even more,” he said.


The GLC63 S gets adaptive air suspension and ride control as standard, along with an electronically controlled locking differential that is now standard along with dynamic engine mounts.


A new driving mode – Slippery – joins the line-up alongside Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and Race.


The big V8 remains unchanged, but the nine-speed automatic transmission now has replaced the torque converter with a wet start-off clutch for faster response and less weight. As before, the power is put to the tarmac via the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.


Fuel consumption in Europe is a claimed 12.3 litres per 100km.


The exterior has been sharpened with a new nose that includes a reshaped grille that is wider at the bottom, flatter LED headlight clusters and redesigned lower air openings that, among other things, dispense with the black mesh to reveal the guts of the cooling system in an apparent nod to motor racing.


The black wheelarch flares are bigger than before, framing new black 20-inch light-alloy wheels with a five twin-spoke design.


At the back, new quad trapezoidal-shape exhaust outlets flank a wide, black-paint diffuser. New-look LED tail-lights complete the redesign.


The biggest change inside the GLC63 S is the addition of Mercedes’ new MBUX connectivity package that can be operated in no fewer than four ways – touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, voice control and hand gestures.


Like other new-generation Mercedes models, a raft of vehicle operations can be initiated with the words “hey Mercedes”, or by moving the hand in front of the console panel to bring up a range of menus controlling items such as the sound system, sat-nav, parking assist or even seat adjustment.


The dash has two screens – a 12.3 inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch touchscreen – that can be set to three styles – Classic, Sport and Supersport.


The interior is swathed in AMG’s Artico fake leather, including the dash. A new chunky steering gets real Nappa leather with microfibre handgrips.


Optional Performance sports seats boast air-inflated side bolsters for an even more snug fit.


Pricing and final specifications for Australia will be announced closer to launch. For guidance, the current model sells for $165,399 plus on-road costs for the wagon and $172,400 for the coupe.


In Australia, the GLC wagon and coupe are running second in the sales charts behind direct rivals BMW X3 and X4.


So far this year, the GLC wagon has achieved 1162 sales, trailing the X3’s 1317 units, while the GLC coupe has found 311 new homes compared with the X4’s 404.

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